May 2013

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Adapted from a Black Belt article by Terry Wilson – Today

Editor’s Note: Continued from History of Karate: The Story of Gichin Funakoshi Disciple Osamu Ozawa (Part 1).

Osamu_Ozawa_BW_150px-OPTHis rickety biplane lifted, then suddenly began vibrating. In a matter of moments, the craft plummeted back to earth and flipped end-over-end into a heap.

“Even now I don’t drive a car very well,” Osamu Ozawa said in an effort to make a joke out of a not-so-funny situation. “When I woke up, I was in the hospital. My body was all broke.”

I watched as Osamu Ozawa’s memories whisked him back to that terrible time. He continued to speak, but his eyes were locked onto images I could not imagine. His voice cracked as he told of how there was almost no medical help, so he was strapped to his bunk to prevent him from injuring himself.

He lay there completely helpless, able only to listen as the voice of his commander-in-chief made a historic broadcast to the brave troops who had served him and his nation. “When Emperor Hirohito’s radio speech told us that Japan had surrendered, many committed suicide,” Osamu Ozawa said. “I watched as my friends took their own lives, some with swords, others [with] pistols. Those of us who were tied to our bed would have done it too if we could have. I felt guilty for years.”
Unable to move, he watched as his friends committed suicide one by one. This ritual of death was considered more honorable than being captured alive by the enemy. Osamu Ozawa would have joined them if he could have untied himself, but as I said, the winds of fate had other plans for him.

Osamu Ozawa: Life After World War II

“When the war ended, I went home,” he said. “Thinking that I had died, my parents already had held a funeral service for me. They were glad I was alive; however, I was alive with dishonor, and for me that was like hell.”

Sometimes surviving a war when your comrades don’t can be worse than death. Why me? Why them? Honor and duty, which were rigidly instilled and sometimes beaten into Ozawa from the time he was a kid, plagued him night and day. The proud samurai looked to the heavens for an answer that never came.

Then one day a priest said: “Ozawa-san, you can die today — now, even — but for what? I believe you are alive because Japan needs you.”

Trusting in a force greater than anything that guides us on earth, Osamu Ozawa returned to Tokyo to finish college. “I had no money, so with my friend Shinkai I took a job sweeping floors in an American post exchange.

“I had not been there quite a week when about six American women came in. I moved out of their way, but Shinkai accidentally touched a lady’s shoe with his mop. Shinkai instantly dropped to the floor, bowing and apologizing again and again. The woman screamed and cursed him over and over. She then kicked him full in the face as he bowed. His glasses went flying, and blood splattered the floor.

“Acting on pure reflex, I grabbed the woman and hit her hard. The American military police came in with their guns drawn. We thought they would shoot us right there, but they took us to jail. Much to our surprise they gave us wonderful food, and of course we assumed this was to be our last meal. Although we could not understand the American prisoners, they seemed to be congratulating us. Later we learned that the woman we had affronted was the unpopular wife of a captain.”

Fortunately for Ozawa and his friend, one of the women who had been present gave a true account of what happened. They were released unpunished. However, they lost their jobs at the PX.

Osamu Ozawa, Gichin Funakoshi and the Japan Karate Association (JKA)
Osamu Ozawa continued to train under Gichin Funakoshi while attending college, and in 1948 he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in economics and a second-degree black belt in shotokan.

While working as an interpreter for the U.S. armed forces at Camp Kobe, Gichin Funakoshi appointed Osamu Ozawa chief instructor for the fledging Japan Karate Association (JKA) in Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto.

“Hidetaka Nishiyama was under me,” Osamu Ozawa recalled. “He was much younger and began his training after the war. I was teaching thousands and thousands. The goal of Funakoshi sensei was to create a national style of Japanese karate. This we did with the permission of the government. However, there were those who did not want the JKA to succeed.”

Osamu Ozawa was confronted with everything from bribes to verbal threats, and on two occasions attempts were made on his life. “It was late, and I was walking home,” he said. “I had been drinking sake and was in a very good mood. A man was hiding behind a telephone pole with a sword. When I came close, he stepped from the shadows and tried to chop my neck. I saw him in time and did a quick rising block. My block should have hit his hands where he held the sword, but because of the sake, it struck the blade just forward of the sword’s hand guard. His blow nearly cut off my arm.”

At this point Osamu Ozawa stopped to indicate a long gash in his forearm. “See?” he asked. “This is where the blade struck. I was very fortunate.”

The old karate master took a long sip of beer, then continued with his story. “Anyhow, I got him right under the nose with a side snap kick. He was in the hospital for two months.”

I anxiously awaited Ozawa’s next story, about the second attempt made on his life, but it never came. Instead, he assured me that karate organizations no longer use such tactics against each other. He merely said: “That was the way things were back then. It is different now.”

Osamu Ozawa and the Entertainment Industry
Once again, Osamu Ozawa became one with his memories. I watched as his eyes traveled into yesterday. I wanted to ask what he was thinking about, but I sat silently, taking another slice of pizza and waiting for a sign that it was OK to continue with the interview.

Suddenly Ozawa returned from wherever it was he had gone, and with a good-natured smile he asked, “Did you know I was a television director?”

“No, I didn’t,” I replied.

“One night a man came to my dojo and asked me if I would like to join a new television network,” he said. “At that time, television was becoming very popular in Japan. But it was a new thing, and nobody had any experience. So they hired people with guts. I became director of the network station in Osaka, and I made 700 programs.”

Osamu Ozawa’s programs were big hits — and because he was one of the few Japanese employees who could speak English, he worked with American celebrities when they came to Japan. As a result, he became good friends with people like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.

“[Sinatra and Davis] told me I should come to America and direct movies,” he said. “They said they would help. So I quit after working there 12 years. I was 38 when I resigned. Unfortunately for me, the stars who said they would help me in the United States did not.”

In 1964, Osamu Ozawa formed a film company and tackled Hollywood on his own. His first film was about the martial arts, but the Japanese director was unable to get distribution, and his project never really got off the ground.

“Things did not work,” Osamu Ozawa said. “For three years I did a few small projects but nothing big. And I had to eat, so I began teaching karate at night and continued to try to work in TV during the day.”

The Gichin Funakoshi Disciple Switches Gears

By this point Osamu Ozawa was a fifth-degree black belt and had a successful dojo, but he continued to look for other business opportunities. He found that opportunity in the form of pachinko, a Japanese game that’s a cross between pinball and a slot machine. Ozawa ordered $100,000 worth of machines and introduced the game to America. However, the California court ruled that his pachinko parlors were considered illegal gaming, and he was raided and shut down.

“I found out later that the pinball industry, which was run by [organized crime], decided to shut me down,” he said. “They used their political influence to put me out of business.”
Ozawa then moved to Las Vegas, where games of chance are legal, and opened pachinko parlors there. Once again, he said, the mob feared that his popular game would compete with the casino slot machines, and more pressure was brought down on Osamu Ozawa.

In addition to being stuck with more than $100,000 worth of pachinko machines, he was robbed. Someone backed a van up to his Las Vegas home and stole everything he owned, from the samurai sword which had been in his family for generations to the living room sofa.

Desperate Material Times, Rich Martial Progress

Things got so bad for the former TV executive that he had to reach up to touch bottom. By the mid-1970s Ozawa had to pawn his watch for food and eked out a meager living by playing poker. He eventually went to work for the Hacienda as a dealer, which paid $21 for a full day’s work.

“I was asked by my boss to teach his son karate,” Osamu Ozawa said. “But I had no place to teach. So he let me use an empty building to teach his son and other students.”

Osamu Ozawa continued to work for the hotel and teach karate until he could made a living teaching full-time.

In 1986 Osamu Ozawa was promoted to eighth-degree black belt, the highest shotokan rank in the Western world. “There are perhaps two ninth degrees alive today,” Osamu Ozawa said. “We may have awarded a 10th degree, but I think only after the person’s death.”

Ozawa told of how he was awarded his eighth degree by a Japanese prince, and we ordered a second pizza and began to talk about movies. “Karate Kid was a good film: Wax on, wax off,” he said laughing. “I liked that. [Daniel-san] learned good values and learned karate from the mind, which made his spirit strong.

“In ninja films, they jump 20 feet straight up in the air,” he continued. “Of course, that’s impossible. And in [other] movies, someone will defeat many men at a time. In real life, it is very difficult to knock out even one person. But Karate Kid was ichi bon (No. 1). That movie showed discipline and taught karate in a very educational yet entertaining way. That’s the kind of karate movie I would like to see more people make.”

Osamu Ozawa’s Perspective on Masters in the History of Karate

The next topic was somewhat deeper: I asked the respected master who of all those he has studied under was the greatest martial artist of all. He quickly replied: “Oh, that’s easy. Funakoshi sensei, naturally. Funakoshi was No. 1. Why he is No. 1 is not technical and not because he was my teacher. He was not the best technician, and some people will be angry that I have said that. But I am telling the truth. Funakoshi sensei was very intelligent, a self-educated man who made many sacrifices to bring karate to Japan. It was a great honor to have trained under him.”

Once again, Ozawa drifted from the pizza parlor, and although I could not see where his mind had taken him, I was sure he was visiting his old friend and honored teacher.

* * *
During my long drive back to San Diego, I tried to imagine what Osamu Ozawa had seen when he drifted away during our interview.

His eyes had locked onto history, and I could only turn the pages for him. But for a little more than four hours, I watched, listened and learned from a man who has come full-circle with his destiny — and from his stories my foundation as a martial artist grew stronger and wiser.

The experience reminded me of an old adage: The path to understanding and learning in the martial arts is a never-ending road that many will travel only as long as there are those who are willing to keep the road open.

Osamu Ozawa was one such person.

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by the Editors
Photo by Rick Hustead – Today

Teruo_Chinen_150pxSensei Teruo Chinen is a figure in the history of karate who has earned the right to be called “master.” Slight of build, but with powerful external and internal strength in his karate techinques, he is a living example of the virtues of goju-ryu karate training.

Born in Japan, Chinen’s Okinawan father died at the end of World War II. His mother then moved back to his native land of Okinawa, eventually settling in the village of Naha.

Chinen’s father and family were actually from the village of Shuri, and were a family of martial artists that practiced what was then known as shuri-te. From his grandfather to his uncles, they all practiced Okinawa-te, as karate was called in those days.

Watch this exclusive video discussing the life of the karate techniques master and his place in the history of karate:

The Story of Karate Techniques Master Teruo Chinen

In Naha, Chinen lived in his uncle’s house, which was only a few doors away from a pillar in the history of karate: master Chojun Miyagi. His uncle, as fate would have it, was a police officer and a student of Miyagi’s.
Chinen was immersed in karate from birth — and by this point he was living next door to the famous Miyagi sensei, as mentioned in the history-of-karate video above.

Thomas J. Nardi, Ph.D. wrote about the meeting of Teruo Chinen and Chojun Miyagi in a 1985 issue of Black Belt magazine:

The young Okinawan boy waked nervously to his neighbor’s house. His neighbor had always scared him; the man always had a stern, serious look about him. And the neighbor’s reputation in the martial arts was known throughout the community.

Slowly, with unsure steps, the youngster entered the neighbor’s backyard. Glancing about, his eyes suddenly met those of the stocky, powerfully built man. Instantly, the boy bowed respectfully.

“Good morning, Master Miyagi,” he managed to say.

Thus marked the fateful meeting between Teruo Chinen and Chojun Miyagi, the founder of goju-ryu karate. It was to change Chinen’s life forever. It was the beginning of a journey of more than 30 years into the essence of goju-ryu, a journey that led Chinen to Japan, South Africa and finally Spokane, Washington, where he established a traditional dojo (training hall) to teach the original goju-ryu as taught by Miyagi.

In 1952, the stern disciplinarian Miyagi allowed young Teruo Chinen to begin his training in karate techniques.
However, by that point, the elder karate techniques master was in failing health. In 1953, Chojun Miyagi passed away. His legacy was passed on to Eiichi Miyazato, with whom Chinen studied karate techniques for many years to come.

Teruo Chinen of goju-ryu karate is a man honored and deeply respected by his peers in martial arts, and by all who come to know him and learn from him.

For more information about this master of goju-ryu karate techniques, visit Chinen’s Wikipedia entry and this article posted at

This text was adapted from the narration of the biographical section of the Teruo Chinen DVD series Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate, with additional elements adapted from the June 1985 Black Belt magazine article, “Learning Goju-Ryu Karate From the Source — Chojun Miyagi,” by Thomas J. Nardi, Ph.D.

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Adapted from an article originally by Robert W. Young
Photo by Robert Reiff – Yesterday

Feat-TangSooDoCoverStory.inddC.S. Kim wasn’t particularly tough when he was young. Like millions of other kids around the world and plenty in Songtan, South Korea, he had problems with coordination and self-esteem. What made Kim different from his peers is he found a simple solution to his problems: the martial arts. He started judo and boxing when he was 10. Then he visited a tang soo do school run by Song Ki Kim and joined the next day.

“I loved it,” Kim said. “We trained two or three hours a day for five days a week.”

When C.S. Kim received his green belt, he thought he knew everything and stopped attending class. Three months later, he started up again because he missed it. He worried that his master would be angry about his absence, but the old man welcomed the lost sheep back into the fold. “I never quit again,” Kim said.

C.S. Kim and Y.D. Kim Demonstrate an Elbow Break!

In 1963, C.S. Kim joined the Korean army and became head instructor at Osan Airforce base — where he instructed both Korean and U.S. military personnel, including a young Chuck Norris. Learn more about Chuck Norris and his legendary films in our new FREE download: How Chuck Norris Films Seem to Bend the Course of History.

Early Training
Training was tough. “Before my master got a school, we practiced outside in the dirt,” said C.S. Kim, who earned his black belt when he was 12. “If it rained, we couldn’t practice. We didn’t have any equipment, but sometimes we used a rice bag filled with sand as a punching bag.”

Kim and his classmates spent most of their time doing kicks, punches, forms, one-step sparring and free sparring. Especially free sparring. “My master would have 20 people stand up, and each student would spar for five minutes with each person,” he recalled.

Tang Soo Do Self-Defense Moves: Then and Now

The skills C.S. Kim worked to perfect then are identical to the ones he and his instructors teach now. “I don’t believe in changing techniques,” he said. “Modern instructors may create new styles, but what’s going to be around in the future? The traditional martial arts. The world changes every day, but anything traditional should not. People need some stability in life, and traditional martial arts can provide that. As we grow old and die, traditional martial arts like tang soo do can last forever.”

Bringing a Traditional Martial Art and Its Self-Defense Moves to the World

To help promote traditional tang soo do to a wider audience, C.S. Kim left Korea in 1972. He had an opportunity to relocate to Europe but elected to settle in the United States instead. In 1973 he appeared on his first magazine cover. In 1974 he organized his first tournament, which attracted 700 people. Now based in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, he admitted that his federation’s teaching methods — but not its techniques or self-defense moves — have been modified a little to better deal with students’ busy schedules. Because of school activities and sports, children just can’t invest as much time in their training, he said.

The Positive Effects of Martial Arts Training

“But parents need to remember that martial arts can help academic studies,” C.S. Kim added. “I tell students what my master told me: On one side you have education, and on the other side you have martial arts. It’s the perfect balance.”

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